CPPU conducts engaged research focused on the theme of society, sustainability and energy - current examples of research include:


EnergyPOLITIES - Politico-institutional framing of collective engagements with the energy system [2018-21]

SEAI Research, Development and Demonstration (Grant Agreement 18/RDD/356)
Budget: €354,721
Principal Investigator: Dr Niall Dunphy, CPPU

Using three case studies, two in Ireland and one on mainland Europe, this project explores how governance structures intersect with socio-economic and key socio-cultural factors, including gender, to influence the social acceptability or otherwise of energy infrastructure projects. 

Project web site

SEAI logo

Solid Fuels Study

Assessment of residential solid fuel use in Ireland and the promotion of a transition away from solid fuels [2019-21]

Environmental Protection Agency and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Principal Investigator: Dr John Eakins (Economics)
Co-investigators: Dr Bernadette Power (Economics), Dr Celine McInerney (AFIS), Dr Niall Dunphy (CPPU)
Budget: €250,000

The project aims to develop both a quantitative and qualitiative understanding of the solid fuel residential heating market in Ireland. This is being achieved through a mixed-methods approach incorporating for example, the use of econmetric analysis, surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc. Based on this developed knowledge, the project will exam alternatives to the use of solid fuels and the policy instruments that could be used to promote  transition away from such fuels.

EPA and SEAI logos


Imagining 2050 - Engaging, Envisioning, and Co-Producing Pathways for a Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Ireland [2018-20]

Environmental Protection Agency (Grant Agreement 2017-CCRP-MS.49)
Principal Investigator: Dr Ger Mullally (Sociology / CPPU)
Co-investigators: Prof John Barry, Prof Ed Byrne, Prof Geraint Ellis, Prof Brian O Gallachoir, Dr Niall Dunphy, Dr Clodagh Harris, Dr Barry O'Dwyer, Dr Paul Bolger, Dr James Glynn, Dr Fionn Rogan, Dr Paul Deane, Dr Stephen Flood
Budget: €378,721 

Imagining 2050 will engage with civic society using innovative approaches, to explore and co-develop future visions of, and pathways to, a low carbon and climate resilient future. A key innovation will be a recursive, iterative process combining mini-publics together with technical scenario analysis to envision and co-produce pathways for a low carbon, climate resilient Ireland. Imagining 2050 will combine transitions research together with the technical analysis in a multi-and trans-disciplinary manner.

See project web site for further information

 EPA logo


Re-Wind - Reuse and Recycling of Decommissioned Composite Material Wind Turbine Blades [2018-20]

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as part of a US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership
UCC principal investigator: Dr Paul Leahy (Energy Engineering)
Co-investigators: Dr Ger Mullally (Sociology/CPPU), Dr Niall Dunphy (CPPU) 
UCC Budget: €319,831

The Re-Wind project is a response to a challenge of end-life-life management of non-biodegradable blades found in current wind turbines in a sustainable manner. The project takes an innovative multidisciplinary approach, to compare sustainable end–of–life reuse and recycling strategies for these composite material wind turbine blades.

See project website for further information


NewTREND  - New integrated methodology and Tools for Retrofit design towards a next generation of ENergy efficient and sustainable buildings and Districts‌ [2015-18]

Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement Number 680474)
Principal Investigator: Dr Niall Dunphy
UCC Budget: €369,982 

NewTREND logo

NewTREND aims to develop an integrated design methodology for energy retrofit specified for use for individual buildings and at the district level. NewTREND will address all phases of the refurbishment process. To enable the effective application of the methodology, a toolkit will be developed to support each phase from concept design to implementation and operation, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, involving building inhabitants and users and establishing energy performance as a key component of refurbishments.

See project website for further information


ENTRUST - Human factor in the Energy System [2015-18]

Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement Number 657998)
Project Coordinator and Principal Investigator: Dr Niall Dunphy
UCC Budget: €1,044,304 

Entrust logo

ENTRUST provides mapping of Europe’s energy system (key actors & their intersections, technologies, markets, policies, innovations) and an in-depth understanding of how human behaviour around energy is shaped by both technological systems and socio-demographic factors (especially gender, age and socio-economic status).

 See project website for further information

Older Projects

Environmental Policy Integration Review

Commissioned by the National Economic and Social Council (2014-15)
Principal Investigator: Niall Dunphy (CPPU)
Co-investigator: Dr Ger Mullally (Sociology/CPPU)

This study examined the state of play of Environmental Policy Integration (EPI) and comprised a comprehensive review of EPI literature in both academic and policy contexts, the resultant report provides an overview of the theory and conceptual development; outlines  methodologies and presents examples of current applications in policy across Europe and internationally.

See NESC website for final report.


EU Seventh Framework Programme, grant agreement no. 314343 (2012-15)
UCC budget: €320,192
Principal Investigator: Niall Dunphy (CPPU)

UMBRELLA: Business Model Innovation for High Performance Buildings Supported by Whole Life Optimisation. This project delivered a decision support tool, providing information with respect to a building energy consumption and methods for implementation and incentivisation of solutions, benefitting all stakeholders involved. This was achieved through the development of an innovative web-based decision support application, which provided common independent evaluation tools built around new and adaptable business models. The interface uses guided navigation to ascertain key information from users such as key stakeholders; building location; building type; new or retrofit build; owner objectives and preferences etc. This addressed the barriers that exist when considering the sustainability of the built environment, and the fact that optimising energy efficiency is often a management issue and not one of design.

Carbon Neutral Building Project

Philantrophic funding (2010-2014)
UCC budget: €500 000
Principal Investigator: Dr Dominic O'Sullivan (Civil Eng)
Co-investigators: Prof Dr.-Ing. habil. Karsten Menzel (Chair IT in AEC), Aveen Henry (CPPU)

The Carbon Neutral Buildings Project was a multi-strand study involving two other research groups within Civil Engineering, UCC. The project was concerned with the exploration of business, technical and technological strategies for carbon-neutral building businesses. The project involved: ex ante measurement and computer modeling of the performance of three demonstration buildings; Identification and invention of energy retrofit solutions; multidimensional lifecycle evaluation of alternatives; and ex post evaluation of each building. Parallel and complementary to this work a review was undertaken of the policy context for carbon neutral renovations to identify potential policy barriers.


National Digital Research Centre (2011-2012)
UCC budget: €15 000
Principal Investigator: Niall Dunphy (CPPU)

This SmartCarbon was a collaborative project between Thinksmart Technologies, University College Cork and the NDRC. The project involved the development of decision making tool based upon Multiple Decision Diagrams (MDDs) for consideration of building energy retrofit options. Candidate retrofit alternatives including associated key performance indicators (KPIs) (e.g. cost, energy, embodied carbon) can be compiled into MDDs where various performance implications can be effectively illustrated and KPI trade-offs explored.

Experiential Food Trail

Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers

This project involved working in a rural region of Ireland with artisan food producers, restaurants and other relevant stakeholders to develop an experiential food ‘trail’ showcasing and promoting the quality food produced in the area and the heritage and story behind the food (in other words capturing the embodied values within their products). The network / trail was realised through an iPhone application and companion web site. 

Sustainable Food Production

Funded through Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers 

Project for nine food-producing companies to improve their environmental performance and enhance the sustainability of their products through the concepts of cleaner production and industrial ecology.

Selecting Green Building Materials

Funded through Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers 

Study exploring and identifying the need for, approaches to, and resources for the selection of “greener” building materials.

Sustainable Participation? Evaluating the Role of City And County Development Boards in Local Sustainable Development

EPA ERTDI (2004-06)

Evaluation of the role of City and County Development Boards in facilitating stakeholder participation in local sustainable development.

Study of Awareness and Knowledge of Sustainable Procurement among Procurement Professionals

EPA ERTDI (2004-06)

Identification of educational and training needs for procurement professionals for the successful implementation of sustainable procurement

Environmentally Equipped Business Parks

Údarás na Gaeltachta, (Ecoland Project) 2004-05

Development of environmental auditing approach and tools for business parks.


INTERREG IIIC Programme 2004-2007

Network of rural regions and research institutions in Europe that works to further sustainable tourism destination development through the exchange of information and best practices

Strategic Mentoring Initiative for the Region of North Aegean - SMERNA

CEC DG Research - Regions of Knowledge Pilot Action 2004-6

A mentoring initiative to bridge the technology and innovation gap in North Aegean and promote technology based sustainable regional development.

European Waste and Sustainable Training for the Environment - EUROWASTE

Leonardo Da Vinci Programme, CEC DG Enterprise 2003-05

Examination of how small and medium sized enterprises can more effectively improve their environmental performance. Working with 60 SMEs – 17 from Ireland - the project developed more effective engagement and waste management strategies and produced a suite of training materials.

Development of an Environmental Risk Analysis and Management System - ERACCP

HEA PRTLI 2003-05

Development of a science-based tool: an Environmental Risk Analysis and Critical Control Points ERACCP - to facilitate early identification and assessment of environmental risks and to develop systematic management of those risks in process industries.

Treatments of Organic Wastes as alternatives to Land spreading

HEA PRTLI 2003-05

Assessment of a variety of innovative technologies with applications in management / treatment of organic waste

Variable rate pricing based on Pay-As-You-Throw as a tool of urban waste management (PAYT)

CEC DG Research (FP5) 2001-03

Development of a handbook for those implementing a PAYT system outlining best circumstances in which to implement the system and a range of methods that can be adapted on a case-by-case basis to suit each situation

Sustainable Destinations? Understanding the Environmental Metabolism of Tourism in Coastal Communities

HEA PRTLI 2000-03

Development of a concept and model of destination metabolism as a framework for researching environmental impacts on tourism destinations and elaboration of a methodology for the collection of appropriate data concerning Material Flows Analysis (MFA) for local understandings of environment-tourism interactions

Cleaner Production Promotion Unit

G1 Civil Engineering Building, School of Engineering, University College Cork, College Road, Cork T12 K8AF, Ireland.